This week in Contemporary European Philosophy we are reading Martin Heidegger’s “What Is Metaphysics?” In this recent survey (dominated by philosophers from the English-speaking world), Heidegger ranks as the 18th most-identified-with non-living philosopher. “What Is Metaphysics?” was first delivered in 1929 as Heidegger’s inaugural lecture at the University of Freiburg.
Here is my summary of Heidegger’s distinctiveness and his contribution to postmodernism. Also two related posts: “Heidegger and National Socialism” (with quotations from Brüggemeier, Cioc, and Zeller’s How Green Were the Nazis?: Nature, Environment, and Nation in the Third Reich), and “Heidegger, Anti-humanism, and the Left” (which takes off from Tim Black’s sp!ked review, “Why they’re really scared of Heidegger”). Both posts probe the issue of how strong the connections are between Heidegger’s abstract philosophy and his disturbing social and political views.